The Dangers of the Holidays for Your Beloved Pets

The holidays can be dangerous for your pets.

Counters are full of tasty treats that can not only make them sick but can also kill them.

People are coming and going.

And, it is the number one time of year for relinquishment to shelters and euthanasia.

As a Vet Tech

When I first began working in an animal clinic I was surprised when my fellow veterinary technicians warned me that the holiday season has the highest rate of euthanasia.

I personally, still don’t really understand it.  I hope I never can, because I think it is heartless and despicable.

But, unfortunately it is true.

A large number of pets are euthanized during the holidays, and even more end up in shelters.

People don’t want to put up with a pet that has accidents in the house when friends and family are due for arrival.

Some people don’t want to pay a pet sitter or for boarding.

And, many just don’t want to be inconvenienced by a geriatric animal through the stressful holidays.

For some it is one person in the family (mom, or dad) and for others it seems mutual.

Again, I don’t understand nor would I ever condone it.

I am thankful for each and every day I am blessed to share with my pets!

But as a Dog Obedience Trainer and Pet Sitter

But as a dog obedience trainer I make a point of doing my best to help people with their dogs’ obedience and giving their pets a place to stay during the holidays.

Good obedience is the key!  A dog that listens and obeys commands is much less likely to be in danger than his counterparts who are jumping on guests and stealing food.

Let’s take some of the Most Dangerous Behaviors and Break them Down Quickly

Thursday is Thanksgiving!Happy Thanksgiving day background,with dog pilgrim

And many people are already starting to panic!

But if you put your mind to it, you can make a difference in just a couple of days!


Keep your dog on a leash if he jumps on you or your guests.

Don’t allow him to maul people as they come in your home.

Use a leash to restrain him and ask him to sit (most dogs at least know how to sit but for help click here)

If you are busy cooking and you don’t have a responsible person to help with a slightly unruly dog; crate him in another room.

Dogs who are crated aren’t really able to bother anyone!

Everyone will think your dog is really well behaved and anyone who has previously been pounced on by your jumping dog will be relieved that they don’t have to deal with this behavior.

If you are worried about your dog fussing in his crate make sure you get up early or take a break to give him much needed exercise!  I’m not talking about a stroll!  RUN your dog!  Hook him up to a bike or play retrieve games until he is utterly exhausted!

I also like leaving a fan on high and music on so that my dog can’t hear every move me and my company make.


Stealing food can be deadly during this time of year!

Actually stealing food can be deadly any time of year but it is even more dangerous during the holidays.

Just yesterday I was out grocery shopping for my Thanksgiving meal.

I bought whole milk, heavy whipping cream, cream cheese and real butter all of which are included in my famous mashed potatoes alone!

Normally, I am a pretty healthy cook, but I make an exception 2-3 times a year so that everything tastes especially delicious.

All of that fat can send your dog straight to the doggy hospital.  Dog’s bodies can’t handle the influx of that much fat and their pancreas can’t handle it, leading to pancreatitis which in severe cases can kill dogs.

We always had an influx of dogs post holiday meal at the vet clinic set for bloodwork and IV fluids.  Not only is it dangerous, it is expensive.

Again, a leash makes all the difference in the world!  If my dog has a leash on, I am not going to let him counter surf.

I put dog beds in the kitchen so that my dogs can do comfortable down stays while I cook.  They want to be involved anyway… this allows them to while being out of the way.   For help with “Place” click the link.

It also means I know what they are doing and that they aren’t getting into trouble.

I also make sure they have a good “Leave It” command for help click here. 

If that isn’t an option, use a crate.

I often crate my dogs during the day so that I can use them when I need them.

Again provide your dog with good healthy exercise before you leave him and he will sleep.

Running Out of The Door

This is a terrible habit and one that can get your dog killed.  If you need long term help click here.

If you don’t have a handle on this behavior, having multiple waves of visitors can be terrifying!

Again, something as simple as a leash can save your dog’s life.

Have everyone arrive at the same time!

Even my dogs get excited when someone comes to visit.  When I am hosting a large party I request that people show up as close to the time I request as possible.  I tell them that it is easier for my dog, and yes my dog is an important member of my family.

Depositphotos_84728904_s-2015This way I can put leashes on for when people come through but after a few minutes of socializing I can let them be free (provided they aren’t going to jump and that they are going to listen) otherwise keep them on a leash.

Discuss door procedures with your guests so that no one goes out and releases your dog and so they keep an eye on their children.

And, if you can’t trust your company and you can’t keep your dog on a leash then use a crate!

A crate, in a secure area of the house will save your dog’s life!

If Leashing and Crating Won’t Work

So you will tell me you can’t leash your dog and get the things done that you need to get done.

And some will say they can’t crate their dogs because they will be too loud or still misbehaved.

Take your dog to a boarding facility.

It isn’t your dog’s fault if she/he does not have the skills needed to coexist with your friends and family; especially since most people never teach the needed skills and those that do usually don’t keep up on them like they need to!

If you are too far behind this year, don’t sweat it!  Use a boarding facility or a pet sitter that will take your dog into their home.

Then proof these skills for next year’s holiday season!

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  1. Denise says:

    Very informative and I agree completely. Our cbr loves to have guests but it causes over stimulation for her. Placing her in the crate is her safe place and she’s happy to go there. Once everyone is in and settled she comes out, greets people and settles into routine. No yelling, no hitting required & no angry guests.


  2. Valerie says:

    I took my dog Blue to the pet store to get her some food. She spotted another dog whom might I add was well behaved. We both entered the line with our dogs & my dog acted a plum fool to the point she excited the other dog & eventually that dog started acting out. I need help!!! I don’t know how to train a dog and when I give her a command she just looks at me or ignore me.


    Minette Reply:

    We have many training resources in our store


  3. Barbara Suderman says:

    Such really good information here. I thought it was December for another reason–stealing food or getting ‘treats’ from visitors–or –the unaware owner. However, I never thought of those other reasons you mentioned. Having dogs euthanized for bothering dinner guests? Again, the human species and the heartlessness and cruelty we visit upon ourselves and other living beings never fails to astonish and then upset me.


  4. Nancy says:



    Minette Reply:

    Only if people don’t pay attention to their dogs. Thousands of dogs are exercised this way and have no problem at all, and this kind of exercise saves lives!


  5. Geske says:

    Nice and sensible! Fortunately I don’t have such problems with my 4 dogs


  6. irene says:

    Happy to say I have never had any of those thoughts or feelings. My boy is a big part of my family and people who come know he will be here …. Even Santa is good to him….


  7. BRONWEN says:

    bravo!..good all round advice
    I cannot stand cruelty to animals or humans..but there are a lot of ppl out there..that can and do!

    I tell all my visitors to ignore MOLLY, when they come in the front door.
    she still jumps around a bit but is ignored til she settles…..and quite frequently gets a cuddle out of them!
    she adores visitors, dogs and the car

    the only exception is my son…who she stays with when we go away…and then she goes absolutely troppo! lol
    guess i’ll have to work on that too.


  8. Jessi says:

    My “Angel” is good at listening for most things, but she will occasionally bolt out the door if we don’t tell her to wait. BUT, our biggest problem with her is that she greets our guests with a sprinkle, or shall I say, sometimes a puddle. She’s so excited to see them that she pees all over even after she’s just come in from a walk. How can we stop this?


    Minette Reply:


  9. helena arrechea says:

    nothing to do with your advice which I find as in general useful. there is a brown vertical line in all your comments, and I find it hard to read when its on the text. Am I the only one or do other people see ir too.


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